Amazing articles on just about every subject...


University Education

( Originally Published 1891 )

AS they who look on the ocean think of its vastness ; of the many shores in many climes visited by its waves to ply " their priest-like task of clean ablution ;" of cities and empires that rose beside its waters, flourished, decayed, and became a memory; of others that shall rise and also pass away, while the moving element remains,— so we to-day beholding ancient Faith, laying, in the New World, the cornerstone of an institution which better than anything else symbolizes the aim and tendency of modern life, find ourselves dwelling in thought upon what has been and what will be.

On the one hand rises the venerable form of that religion whose voice re-echoed in the hearts of Abraham, Moses, David, and Isaiah ; whose lips, when the Saviour spoke, uttered diviner truth and thrilled the hearts of men with purer love, living with them in deserts and catacombs, leading them along bloodstained ways to victory and peace, until at length the Church gleamed forth from amid the parting storm-clouds and shone like a mountain-built city bathed in sunlight. On the other stands the Genius of the Republic, the embodied spirit of the sovereign people, who, accepting as literal truth the Christian principles that God is a Father, and men brothers and therefore equal, strive to take from political society the blindness and fatality of natural law, and to endow it with the divine and human attributes of justice, mercy, and intelligence. From the very beginning our American history is full of religious zeal, of high courage and strong endeavor. When Columbus, saddened by the frivolousness or the perfidy of courts, but unshaken in his purpose, walked the streets of the Spanish capital, lonely and forsaken, the children, as he passed along, would point to their foreheads and smile, for was not his mind unhinged, and did he not believe the world was round and on the other side men walked like flies upon a ceiling? But a woman's heart understood that his folly was of the kind which is the wisdom of God, and with her help he set sail, not timidly or doubting like the Portuguese who for fifty years hugged the African coast, advancing and then receding, but facing the awful and untravelled ocean with a heart stronger than its storm-swept billows, he steered due west. In his journal, day after day, he wrote these simple but sublime words,

" That day he sailed westward, which was his course." And still, as hope rose and fell, as misgivings and terrors seized on his men, as the compass varied in inexplicable ways as though they were entering regions where the very laws of Nature change, the soul of the great admiral stood firm and each evening he wrote again the self-same words, " that day he sailed westward which was his course," until at length seeing what he foresaw, he gave to Christendom an-other world and enlarged the boundaries and scope of earthly life. What hearts had not the men who in New England, in Virginia, in Maryland, and elsewhere, settled in little bands on the edge of vast and unexplored regions, covered by interminable forests, where savages lay in wait, athirst for blood. We hear without surprise that wise and prudent men looked upon the early attempts to take possession of America as not less wild and visionary than the legendary exploits of Amadis de Gaul ; but what Utopian dreamer, what poet soaring in the high regions of his fancy, could have imagined two centuries and a half ago the beauty, the power, the free and majestic sweep of the stream of human life which has poured across this continent? Who could have dared to hope that the religious exiles who sought here a home for the Christian conscience were a seed, the least of all, which was destined to grow into a tree whose boughs should shelter the land, and bring refreshment to the weary and heavy-laden from every part of the earth?

Who could have thought that these fugitives from the tyrant's power would, in little more than a century, grow like the tribes of Israel into a people able to withstand the onslaughts of the oppressor, and to abolish forever within their borders despotic rule? Who could have had faith that men of different creeds, speaking various tongues, bred in unlike social conditions, would here coalesce and co-operate for the general purposes of free government? Above all, who could have believed that a form of government rarely tried, even in small States, and when tried found practicable only for brief periods, would here become so stable, so strong, that every hamlet, every village, is self-poised and manages its own affairs? The achievement is greater than we are able to know; nor does it lie chiefly in the millions who coming from many lands have here made homes and found. themselves free ; nor in the building of cities, the clearing of forests, the draining of swamps, the binding of two oceans, and the opening of lines of rapid communication in every direction. Not to numbers or wealth do we owe our significance among the nations ; but to the fact that we have shown that respect for law is compatible with civil and religious liberty ; that a free people can become prosperous and strong, and preserve order with-out king or standing army; that the State and the Church can move in separate orbits and still co-operate for the common welfare; that men of different races and beliefs may live together in peace ; that in spite of an abnormally rapid increase of population and of wealth, and of the many evils thence resulting, the prevailing tendency is to sanity of thought and sentiment, thus plainly manifesting the vigor of our life and institutions; that the government of the majority, where men put their trust in God and in knowledge, is in the end the government of the good and the wise, We have thus helped to establish confidence in human nature ; to prove that man's instincts, like the laws of Nature, are conservative ; to show that the enthusiasts who would overturn everything, destroy everything, have no abiding place or influence in the affairs of a free people, as volcanic and cyclonic forces are but transitory and superficial in their action upon the earth. We have shown in a word that under a popular government, where men are faithful and intelligent, it is as impossible that society should become chaotic as that the planets should dissolve into star dust.

It is difficult to realize what an advance this is on all previous views of political life; how full it is of promise, how accordant with the sentiments of the noblest minds in every part of the world. It gives us the leading place among the nations which are moving along rising ways to higher and freer life. To turn to the Catholic Church in America; all observers remark its great development here, the rapid increase in the number of its adherents, its growth in wealth and influence, the firm yet gentle hand with which it brings heterogeneous populations under the control of a common faith and discipline, the ease with which it adapts itself to new conditions and organizes it-self in every part of the country. It is not a little thing, in spite of unfriendly public opinion and of great and numerous obstacles, in spite of the burden which high achievements impose and of the lack of easy and supple movement which gathering years imply, to enter new fields, to bend one's self to unaccustomed work, and to struggle for the right to live in the midst of a generation heedless of the good, and mindful only of the evil which has been associated with one's life. This is what the Catholic Church in America has had to do, and has done with a success which recalls the memory of the spread of Christianity through the Roman Empire. It counts its members here by millions, while a hundred years ago it counted them by thousands; and its priests, churches, schools, and institutions of charity it reckons by the thousand, while then they could be counted hardly by tens. Public opinion which was then hostile is no longer so in the same degree. Prejudice has not indeed ceased to exist; for where there is question of religion, of society, of politics, even the fairest minds fail to see things as they are, and the multitude, it may be sup-posed, will never become impartial; but the tendency of our life and of the age is opposed to bigotry, and as we lose faith in the justice and efficacy of persecution, we perceive more clearly that true religion can neither be de-fended nor propagated by violence and intolerance, by appeals to sectarian bitterness and national hatred. By none is this more sincerely acknowledged, or more deeply felt, than by the Catholics of the United States.

The special significance of our American Catholic history is not found in the phases of our life which attract attention, and are a common theme for declamation ; but it lies in the fact that our example proves that the Church can thrive where it is neither protected nor persecuted, but is simply left to itself to manage its own affairs and to do its work. Such an experiment had never been made when we became an independent people, and its success is of world-wide import, because this is the modern tendency and the position toward the Church which all the nations will sooner or later assume; just as they all will be forced finally to accept popular rule. The great underlying principle of democracy, — that men are brothers and have equal rights, and that God clothes the soul with freedom, — is a truth taught by Christ, is a truth proclaimed by the Church; and the faith of Christians in this principle, in spite of hesitations and misgivings, of oppositions and obstacles and inconceivable difficulties, has finally given to it, its modern vigor and beneficent power. The spirit of love and mercy, which is the spirit of Christ, breathes like a heavenly zephyr through the whole earth, and under its influence the age is moved to attempt greater things than hitherto have seemed possible. Never before has sympathy among men been so widepread ; never has the desire to come to the relief of all who suffer pain or wrong been so general or so intelligent. To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, seems now comparatively a little thing. Our purpose is to create a social condition in which none shall lack food or clothing or shelter; following the divine command : " 0 Israel, thou shalt not suffer that there be a beggar or a pauper within thy borders." Kindness to slaves ceased to be a virtue for us when we abolished slavery; and we look forward to the day when nor man nor woman nor child shall work and still be condemned to a life of misery. That great blot upon the page of history, woman's fate, has partly been erased, and we are drawing near to the time when in the world as in Christ there shall be made no distinction between slave and freeman, between man and woman. If we compare modern with ancient and medival epochs, wars have become less frequent, and in war men have become more humane and merciful.

Increasing knowledge of human life as it is found in the savage, in the barbarian, and in the civilized man, fixes us more unalterably in our belief in the worth of progress. The savage and the barbarian are hopelessly ignorant, and therefore weak and wretched, since ignorance is the chief source of man's misery. " My people," says the prophet, " are destroyed for lack of knowledge." From ignorance rather than from depravity have sprung the most appalling crimes, the most pernicious vices In darkness of mind men have worshipped sense-less material things, have deified every cruel and carnal passion; at the dictate of unenlightened conscience they have oppressed, laid waste, and murdered ; for lack of knowledge they have perished in the snows of winter, been wasted by miasmatic air, have fallen victims to famine and pestilence, and have bowed for centuries beneath the degrading yoke of tyranny. Science is a ministering angel. The Jesuits by bringing quinine to the knowledge of civilized man have done more to relieve suffering than all the builders of hospitals. Vaccine has wrought more potently than the all-forgetful love of mothers ; more than all the patriots gunpowder has won victories over tyrants ; and the printing-press is a greater teacher than philosophers, writers, poets, schools, and universities. Like a heavenly messenger the compass guides man whithersoever he will go, still turning to the one fixed point, as turn the hearts of the children of men to God. The nations intermingle and lose their jealousies and hatreds, borne everywhere by the power of steam; and the thoughts of men are carried by lightning round the whole earth. Commerce has become a world-wide interchange of good offices; and while it adds to the comfort of all, it enlarges thought and strengthens sympathy. Our greater knowledge has enabled us to lengthen human life ; to extinguish some of the most virulent diseases ; to perform surgical operations without pain ; to increase the fertility of the soil; to make pestilential regions habitable; to illumine our cities and homes at night with the brilliancy of day; to give to laborers better clothing and dwellings than princes in other ages have had. It has opened to our vision the limitless sidereal expanse, and revealed to us a heavenly glory which transcends the imagination of inspired poets. Before this new light the earth has dwindled away and become an atom, as the stars hide when the great sun wheels upward from out the night. We have looked into the very heart of the sun itself, and know of what it is made; and with the micro-scope we have caught sight of the marvellous world of the infinitesimally small, have seen what human eye had never beheld, and have watched unseen life building up and breaking down all living organisms. We have learned how to walk secure in the depths of ocean, to soar in mid-air, to rush on our way unimpeded through the stony hearts of mountains. We see the earth grow from a fire-ball to be the home of man; we know its anatomy ; we read its history; and we behold races of animals which passed away ages before the eye of man looked forth upon the boundless mystery and saw the shadow of the presence of the infinite God. Better than the Greeks we know the history of Greece; than the Romans that of Rome. Words that were never written have whispered to us the dreams and hopes of people that perished and left no record; and the more we have learned of the past the more clearly do we perceive how far the present age surpasses all others in knowledge and iti power.

The mighty movement by which this development has been caused, has not slackened, but seems each day to gain new force ; and the marvellous changes, political, social, moral, intellectual, and physical, which give character to the nineteenth century are but the prelude to a drama which shall make all past achievements of our race appear weak and contemptible. To imagine that our superiority is merely mechanical and material is to fail to see things as they are. Greater individuals may have lived than now are living, but never before has the world been governed with so much wisdom and so much justice; and the power back of our progress is intellectual, moral, and religious. Science is not material. It is the product of intellect and will ; and the great founders of modern science, Copernicus, Kepler, Bacon, Descartes, Galileo, Newton, Leibnitz, Ampère, Liebig, Fresnel, Faraday, and Mayer, were Christians. " How-ever paradoxical it may sound," says DuBois-Reymond, " modern science owes its origin to Christianity."

Since the course of events is left chiefly to the direction of natural causes, and since science enables man to bend the stars, the lightning, the winds, and the waves to his purposes, what shall resist the onward march of those who are armed with such power? Since life is a warfare, a struggle, how shall the ignorant and the thought-less survive in a conflict in which natural knowledge has placed in the hands of the wise forces which the angels may not wield ? Since the prosperity of the Church is left subject to human influence, shall the Son of Man find faith on earth when he comes if the most potent instrument God has given to man is abandoned to those who know not Christ ? Why should we who reckon it a part of the glory of the Church in the past that she labored to civilize barbarians, to emancipate slaves, to elevate woman, to preserve the classical writings, to foster music, painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, and eloquence, think it no part of her mission now to encourage scientific research ? To be catholic is to be drawn not only to the love of whatever is good and beautiful, but also to the love of whatever is true; and to do the best work the Catholic Church must fit herself to a constantly changing environment, to the character of every people, and to the wants of each age. Has not Christ declared that who-ever is not against us is for us; and may we not therefore find friends in all who work for worthy ends,— for liberty and knowledge, for increase of power and love? This large sympathy, which true religion and the best culture promote, is Catholic, and it is also American; for here with us, I think, the whole world is for men of good-will who are not fools. We who are the children of ancient Faith, who inherit the boon from fathers who held it to be above all price, are saved, where there is question of former times, from irreverent thoughts and shallow views.

For us the long past ages have not flown;
Like our own deeds they travel with us still ;
Reviling them, we but ourselves disown ;
We are the stream their many currents fill.
From their rich youth our manhood has upgrown,
And in our blood their hopes and loves yet thrill.

But if like the old, the Church can look to the past, like the young, she can look to the future. If there are Catholics who linger regretful amid glories that have vanished, there are also Catholics who in the midst of their work feel a confidence which leaves no place for regret; who well understand that the earthly environment in which the Church lives is subject to change and decay, and that new surroundings imply new tasks and impose new duties. The splendor of the medieval Church, its worldly power, the pomp of its ceremonial, the glittering pageantry in which its pontiffs and prelates vied with kings and emperors in gorgeous display, are gone, or going; and were it given to man to recall the past, the spirit whereby it lived would still be wanting. But it is the mark of youthful and barbarous natures to have eyes chiefly for the garb and circumstance of religion, to see the body only and not the soul. At all events the course of life is onward, and enthusiasm for the past cannot become the source of great and far reaching action. The present alone gives opportunity; and the face of hope turns to the future, and the wise are busy with what lies at hand, with immediate duty, and not with schemes for bringing back the things that have passed away. Leaving their dead with the dead, they work for life and for the living.

As in each individual there is a better and a worse self, so in each age there are conflicting tendencies; but it is the part of enlightened minds and generous hearts to see what is true, and to love what is good. The fault-finder is hateful both in life and in literature; and it is lago, the most despicable of characters, whom Shakespeare makes say, "l am nothing if not critical." A Christian of all men is without excuse for being fretful and sour, for thinking and acting as though this were a devil's world, and not the eternal God's, as though there were danger lest the Almighty should not prevail. We know that God is, and therefore that all will be well; and if it were conceivable that God is not, it would still be the part of a true man to labor to make knowledge and virtue prevail. The criticism of the age which gives a better understanding of its needs is good ; all other is baneful.

Opinion rules the world, and a right appreciation of the influences by which opinion is moulded is the surest guide to a knowledge of the time. In ignorant and barbarous ages the notions and beliefs of men are crude, and are controlled by a few, for only a few possess knowledge and influence; and even in the age of Pericles and Augustus, the thought of man-kind means the thoughts of some dozens of men. A few vigorous minds founded schools of opinion and style, became intellectual dicta-tors, and asserted their authority for centuries. As the art of printing was yet unknown, and books were rare, the teacher was the speaker ; orators held sway over the destiny of nations; and the Christian pulpit became the world's university. But the printing-press in giving to thought a permanent form which is placed under the eyes of the whole world has made the passion, the splendor, the majestic phrase of oratory seem unreal as an actor's speech, evanescent as a singer's tones; and hence the pulpit and the rostrum, though they still have influence, can never again exercise the control over opinion which belonged to them when all men had not become readers.

What is true of eloquence may be affirmed of all art. ln spite of ourselves, even the best of us find it difficult to make art a serious business ; and unless taken seriously, it is vain, loses its soul, and falls into the hands of pretenders and sentimentalists. Once painting, sculpture, architecture, and song were the expression of thoughts and moods which irresistibly appealed for utterance; but with us they are a fashion, like cosmetics and laces. Poetry, the highest of arts, has lost its original character of song, and the poet now deals, in an imaginative way, with problems which puzzle metaphysicians and theologians. The causes that have robbed art of so much of its charm and power have necessarily diminished the influence of ceremonial worship, which is the artistic expression of the soul's faith and love, of its hopes and yearnings. We are, indeed, still subdued by the majesty of dimly lighted cathedrals, by solemn music, and the various symbolism of the ritual, but we feel not the deep awe of our fathers whose knees furrowed the pavement stones, and whose burning lips kissed them smooth; and to blame ourselves for this would serve no purpose. To those who find no pleasure in sweet sounds, we pipe in vain, and argument to show that one ought to be moved by what leaves him cold, is meaningless. Emotion is spontaneous, and adorers, like lovers, neither ask nor care for reasons. There is in fact an element of illusion in feeling; passion is non-rational; and when the spirit of the time is intellectual, men are seldom devout, however religious they may be. The scientific habit of mind is not favorable to childlike and unreasoning faith; and the new views of the physical universe which the modern mind is forced to take, bring us face to face with new problems in religion and morals, in politics and society.

Whatever we may think of the past, whatever we may fear or hope for the future, if we would make an impression on the world around us, we must understand the thoughts, the purposes, and the methods of those with whom we live; and we must at the same time recognize that though the truth of religion be unchangeable, the mind of man is not so, and that the point of view varies not only from people to people, and from age to age, but from year to year in the growing thought of the individual and of the world. As in travel-ling round the earth, time changes, and when it is morning here, it is evening there, so with difference of latitude and longitude, of civilization and barbarism, the opinions and manners of men grow different, They who observe from positions widely separate do not see the same things, or do not see them in the same light. Proof for a peasant is not proof for a philosopher; and arguments which in one age are held to be unanswerable, in another lose power to convince, or become altogether meaningless. It is not to be imagined that the hearts of Christians should again burn with the devotional enthusiasm and the warlike ardor of the Crusaders; and just as little is it conceivable that men should again become passionately interested in the questions which in the fourth and fifth centuries filled the world with the noise of theological disputation. It were mere loss of time to beat now the waste fields of the Protestant controversy Wiseman's book on science and revealed religion, which fifty years ago attracted attention, lies like a stranded ship on a deserted shore, and at-tempts of the kind are held in slight esteem. The immature mind is eager to reduce faith to knowledge; but the accomplished thinker understands that knowledge begins and ends in faith. There is oppugnancy between belief in an all-wise, all-good, and all-powerful God, and belief in the divine origin of Nature, whose face is smeared with filth and blood ; but we hold that the conflicting faiths and increasing knowledge cannot add to the difficulty. On the contrary, the higher the intelligence, the purer Nature seems to grow. The chemical elements are as fair and sweet in the corpse as in the living body, and the earthquake and the cyclone obey the same laws which make the waters flow and the zephyrs breathe perfume. lt is the imagination and not the reason that is overwhelmed by the idea of unending space and time. To the intellect, eternity is not more mysterious than the present moment, and the distance which separates us from the remotest stars is not more incomprehensible than a hand's breadth. Science is the widening thought of man, working on the hypothesis of universal intelligibility toward universal intelligence; and religion is the soul, escaping from the labyrinth of matter to the light and love of the lnfinite; and on the heights they meet and are at peace.

Meanwhile they who seek natural knowledge must admit that faith, hope, and love are the everlasting foundations of human life, and that a philosophic creed is as sterile as Platonic love; and they who uphold religion must confess that faith which ignorance ' alone can keep alive is little better than superstition. To strive to attain truth under whatever form is to seek to know God ; and yet no ideal can be true for man, unless it can be made to minister to faith, hope, and love ; for by them we live. Let us then teach ourselves to see things as they are, without preoccupation or misgivings lest what is should ever make it impossible, for us to believe and hope in the better yet to be. Science and morality need religion as much as thought and action require emotion; and beyond the utmost reach of the human mind lie the bound-less worlds of mystery where the soul must believe and adore what it can but dimly discern. The Copernican theory of the heavens startled believers at first; but we have long since grown accustomed to the new view which reveals to us a universe infinitely more glorious than aught the ancients ever imagined. We do not rightly see either the things which are always around us, or those which for the first time are presented to our eyes; and when novel theories of the visible world, which in some sense is part of our very being, profoundly alter our traditional notions, the mind is disturbed and overclouded, and the lapse of time alone can make plain the real bearing of the new learning upon life, upon religion, and upon society. There can be no doubt but increase of knowledge involves incidental evils, just as the progress of civilization multiplies our wants ; but the wise are not therefore driven to seek help from ignorance and barbarism. Whatever the loss, all knowledge is gain. The evils that spring from enlightenment of mind will find their remedy in greater enlightenment. Such at least is the faith of an age whose striking characteristic is confidence in education. Men have ceased to care for the bliss there may be in ignorance, and those who dread knowledge, if such there still be, are as far away from the life of this century as the dead whose bones crumbled to dust a thousand years ago.

The aim the best now propose to themselves is to provide not wealth or pleasure, or better machinery or more leisure, but a higher and more effective kind of education ; and hence whatever one's preoccupation, whether social, political, religious, or industrial, the question of education forces itself upon his attention. Pedagogy has grown to be a science, and chairs are *founded in universities to expound the theory and art of teaching. The learning of former times has become the ignorance of our own; and the classical writings have ceased to be the treasure-house of knowledge, and in consequence their educational value has diminished.

Whoever three hundred years ago wished to acquaint himself with philosophic, poetic, or eloquent expression of the best that was known, was compelled to seek for it in the Greek and Latin authors ; but now Greek and Latin are accomplishments chiefly, and a classical scholar, if unacquainted with modern science and literature, is hopelessly ignorant. " lf any one," said Hegius, the teacher of Erasmus, " wishes to learn grammar, rhetoric, mathematics, history, or holy scripture, let him read Greek; " and in his day this was as true as it is false and absurd in our own. ln the Middle Ages, Latin was made the groundwork of the educational system, not on account of any special value it may have been supposed to possess as a mental discipline, but because it was the language of the learned, of all who spoke or wrote on questions of religion, philosophy, literature, and science; but now, who that is able to think dreams of burying his thought in a Greek or Roman urn? The Germans in philosophy, the English in poetry, have surpassed the Greeks; and French prose is not inferior in qualities of style to the ancient classics, and in wealth of thought and knowledge so far excels them as to preclude comparison.

The life of Greece and Rome, compared with ours, was narrow and superficial; their ideas of Nature were crude and often grotesque; they lacked sympathy; the Greek had no sense of sin; the Roman none of the mercy which tempers justice. In their eyes the child was not holy, woman was not sacred, the slave was not man. Their notion of liberty was political and patriotic merely; the human soul, standing forth alone, and appealing from States and emperors to the living God, was to them a scandal. Now literature is the outgrowth of a people's life and thought, and the nobler the life, the more en-lightened the thought, the more valuable will the expression be; and since there is greater knowledge, wisdom, freedom, justice, mercy, goodness, power, in Christendom now than ever existed in the pagan world, it would certainly be an anomaly if modern literature were inferior to the classical. The ancients, indeed, excel us in the sense for form and symmetry. There is also a freshness in their words, a joyousness in their life, a certain heroic temper in their thinking and acting, which give them power to en-gage the emotions; and hence to deny them exceptional educational value is to take a partial view. But even though we grant that the study of their literatures is in certain respects the best intellectual discipline, education, it must be admitted, means knowledge as well as training; and thorough training is something more than refined taste. It is strength as well, and ability to think in many directions and on many subjects. Nothing known to men should escape the attention of the wise; for the knowledge of the age determines what is demanded of the scholar. And since it is our privilege to live at a time when knowledge is increasing more rapidly even than population and wealth, we must, if we hope to stand in the front ranks of those who know, keep pace with the onward movement of mind. To turn away from this outburst of splendor and power; to look back to pagan civilization or Christian barbarism, — is to love darkness more than light. Aristotle is a great mind, but his learning is crude and his ideas of Nature are frequently grotesque. Saint Thomas is a powerful intellect; but his point of view in all that concerns natural knowledge has long since vanished from sight. What poverty of learning does not the early mediaeval scheme of education reveal; and when in the twelfth century the idea of a university rises in the best minds, how incomplete and vague it is ! Amid the ruins of castles and cathedrals we grow humble, and think ourselves inferior to men who thus could build. But they were not as strong as we, and they led a more ignorant and a blinder life ; and so when we read of great names of the past, the mists of illusion fill the skies, and our eyes are dimmed by the glory of clouds tinged with the splendors of a sun that has set.

Certainly a true university will be the home both of ancient wisdom and of new learning; it will teach the best that is known, and encourage research ; it will stimulate thought, refine taste, and awaken the love of excellence; it will be at once a scientific institute, a school of culture, and a training ground for the business of life; it will educate the minds that give direction to the age ; it will be a nursery of ideas, a centre of influence. The good we do men is quickly lost, the truth we leave them remains forever; and therefore the aim of the best education is to enable students to see what is true, and to in-spire them with the love of all truth. Professional knowledge brings most profit to the individual; but philosophy and literature, science and art, elevate and refine the spirit of the whole people, and hence the university will make culture its first aim, and its scope will widen as the thoughts and attainments of men are enlarged and multiplied. Here if anywhere shall be found teachers whose one passion is the love of truth, which is the love of God and of man ; who look on all things with a serene eye ; who bring to every question a calm, unbiassed mind ; who, where the light of the intellect fails, walk by faith and accept the omen of hope; who understand that to be distrustful of science is to lack culture, to doubt the good of progress is to lack knowledge, and to question the necessity of religion is to want wisdom; who know that in a God-made and God-governed world it must lie in the nature of things that reason and virtue should tend to prevail, in spite of the fact that in every age the majority of men think foolishly and act unwisely. How divine is not man's apprehensive endowment ! When we see beauty fade, the singer lose her charm, the per-former his skill, we feel no commiseration; but when we behold a noble mind falling to decay, we are saddened, for we cannot believe that the godlike and immortal faculty should be subject to death's power. It is a reflection of the light that never yet was seen on sea or land ; it is the magician who shapes and colors the universe, as a drop of water mirrors the boundless sky. ls not this the first word the Eternal speaks?-"Let there be light." And does not the blessed Saviour come talking of life, of light, of truth, of joy, and peace? Have not the Christian nations moved forward following after liberty and knowledge? Is not our religion the worship of God in spirit and in truth? ls not its motive Love, divine and human, and is not knowledge Love's guide and minister?

The future prevails over the present, the unseen over what touches the senses only in high and cultivated natures; and it is held to be the supreme triumph of God over souls when the young, to whom the earth seems to be heaven revealed and made palpable, turn from all the beauty and contagious joy to seek, to serve, to love Him who is the infinite and only real good. Yet this is what we ask of the lovers of intellectual excellence, who work with-out hope of temporal reward and without the strength of heart which is found in obeying the Divine Will; for mental improvement is seldom urged as a religious duty, although it is plain that to seek to know truth is to seek to know God, in whom and through whom and by whom all things are, and whose infinite nature and most awful power may best be seen by the largest and most enlightened mind. Mind is Heaven's pioneer making way for faith, hope, and love, for higher aims and nobler life; and to doubt its worth and excellence is to deny the reasonableness of religion, since belief, if not wholly blind, must rest on knowledge. The best culture serves spiritual and moral ends. lts aim and purpose is to make reason prevail over sense and appetite ; to raise man not only to a perception of the harmonies of truth, but also to the love of whatever is good and fair. Not in a darkened mind does the white ray of heavenly light break into prismatic glory; not through the mists of ignorance is the sweet countenance of the divine Saviour best discerned. lf some have pursued a sublime art frivolously; have soiled a fair mind by ignoble life, —this leaves the good of the intellect untouched. Some who have made strongest profession of religion, who have held high and the highest places in the Church, have been unworthy, but we do not thence infer that the tendency of religion is to make men so. They who praise the bliss and worth of ignorance are sophists. Stupidity is more to be dreaded than malignity; for ignorance, and not malice, is the most fruitful cause of human misery. Let knowledge grow, let truth prevail. Since God is God, the universe is good, and the more we know of its laws, the plainer will the right way become. The investigator and the thinker, the man of culture and the man of genius, can-not free themselves from bias and limitation ; but the work they do will help me and all men.

lndifference or opposition to the intellectual life is but a survival of the general anti-educational prejudices of former ages. lt is also a kind of envy, prompting us to find fault with whatever excellence is a reproach to our unworthiness. The disinterested love of truth is a rare virtue, most difficult to acquire and most difficult to preserve. lf knowledge bring power and wealth, if it give fame and pleasure, it is dear to us; but how many are able to love it for its own sake? Do not nearly all men strive to convince themselves of the truth of those opinions which they are interested in holding? What is true, good, or fair is rarely at once admitted to be so; but what is practically useful men quickly accept, because they live chiefly in the world of external things, and care little for the spiritual realms of truth and beauty. The ignorant do not even believe that knowledge gives power and pleasure, and the educated, except the chosen few, value it only for the power and pleasure it gives. As the disinterested love of truth is rare, so is perfect sincerity. lndeed, insincerity is here the radical vice. Good faith is essential to faith ; and a sophistical mind is as immoral and irreligious as a depraved heart. Let a man be true, seek and speak truth, and all good things are possible; but when he persuades himself that a lie may be useful and ought to be propagated, he becomes the enemy of his own soul and the foe of all that makes life high and god-like.

Now, to be able to desire to see things as they are, whatever their relations to ourselves may be, and to speak of them simply as they appear to us, is one result of the best training of the intellect, which in the world of thought and opinion gives us that sweet indifference which is the rule of saints when they submit the conduct of their lives wholly to divine guidance. Why should he whose mind is strong, and rests on God, be disturbed? It is with opinion as with life. We cannot tell what moment truth will overthrow the one and death the other; but thought cannot change the nature of things, The clouds dissolve, but the eternal heavens remain. Over the bloodiest battlefields they bend calm and serene, and trees drink the sunlight and flowers ex-hale perfume. The moonbeam kisses the crater's lip. Over buried cities the yellow harvest waves, and all the catastrophes of endless time are present to God, who dwells in infinite peace. He sees the universe and is not troubled, and shall not we who are akin to him learn to look upon our little meteorite without losing repose of mind and heart? Were it not a sweeter piety to trust that he who made all things will know how to make all things right; and therefore not to grow anxious lest some investigator should find him at fault or thwart his plans? As living bodies are immersed in an invisible substance which feeds the flame of life, so souls breathe and think and love in the atmosphere of God, and the higher their thought and love the more do they partake of the divine nature. Many things, in this age of transition, are passing away ; but true thoughts and pure love are immortal, and whatever opinions as to other things a man may hold, all know that to be human is to be intelligent and moral, and therefore religious. A hundred years hence our present machinery may seem to be as rude as the implements of the middle age look to us, and our political and social organization may appear barbarous, — so rapid has the movement of life become. But we do not envy those who shall then be living, partly it may be because we can have but dim visions of the greater blessings they shall enjoy, but chiefly because we feel that after all the true worth of life lies in nothing of this kind, but in knowing and doing, in believing and loving ; and that it would not be easier to live for truth and righteousness were electricity applied to aerial navigation and all the heavens filled with argosies of magic sail. lt is not possible to love sincerely the best thoughts, as it is not possible to love God when our aim is some-thing external, or when we believe that what is mechanical merely has power to regenerate and exalt mankind.

"It takes a soul
To move a body ; it takes a high-souled man
To move the masses .... even to a cleaner sty ;
It takes the ideal to blow a hair's-breadth off
The dust of the actual — Ah, your Fouriers failed,
Because not poets enough to understand
That life develops from within."

He who believes in culture must believe in God ; for what but God do we mean when we talk of loving the best thoughts and the highest beauty? No God, no best; but at most better and worse. And how shall a man's delight in his growing knowledge not be blighted by a hidden taint, if he is persuaded that at the core of the universe there is only blind unconscious force? But if he believe that God is infinite power working for truth and love, then can he also feel that in seeking to prepare his mind for the perception of truth and his heart for the love of what is good and fair, he is working with God, and moves along the way in which his omnipotent hand guides heavenly spirits and all the countless worlds. He desires that all men should be wiser and stronger and more loving, even though he should be doomed to remain as he is, for then they would have power to help him. He is certain of himself, and feels no fear nor anger when his opinions are opposed. He learns to bear what he cannot prevent, knowing that courage and patience make tolerable immedicable ills. He feels no self-complacency, but rather the self-dissatisfaction which comes of the consciousness of possessing faculties which he can but imperfectly use. And this discontent he believes to be the infinite God stirring within the soul. As the earthquake which swallows some island in another hemisphere disturbs not the even tenor of our way, so the passions of men whose world is other than his, who dwell remote from what he con-templates and loves, shake not his tranquil mind. While they threaten and pursue, his thought moves in spheres unknown to them. He knows how little life at the best can give, and is not hard to console for the loss of any-thing. There is no true thought which he would not gladly make his own, even though it should be the watchword of his enemies. Since morality is practical truth, he understands that in-creasing knowledge will make it at once more evident and more attractive. Hatred between races and nations he holds to be not less unchristian than the hatred which arms the individual against his fellow-man. lt is impossible for him to be a scoffer; for whatever has strengthened or consoled a human soul is sacred in his eyes ; and wherever there is question of what is socially complex, as of a religion or a civilization, there is question of many human lives, their hopes, their joys, their strivings, their yearnings, disappointments, agonies, and deaths; and he is able to perceive that in the ports of levity there is no refuge for hearts that mourn. Does not love itself, in its heaven of bliss, turn away from him who mocks? The lover of the intellectual life knows neither con-tempt nor indignation, is not elated by success or cast down by failure ; money cannot make him rich, and poverty helps to make him free. His own experience teaches him that men in becoming wiser will become nobler and happier; and this sweet truth has in his eyes almost the elements of a religion. With growing knowledge his power of sympathy is enlarged; until like Saint Francis, he can call the sun his brother and the moon his sister; can grieve with homeless winds, and feel a kinship with the clod. The very agonies by which his soul has been wrung open to his gaze visions of truth which else he had never caught, and so he finds even in things evil some touch of goodness. Praise and blame are for children, but to him impertinent. He is tolerant of absurdity because it is so all-pervading that he whom it fills with indignation can have no repose. While he labors like other men to keep his place in the world, he strives to make the work whereby he maintains himself, and those who cling to him, serve intellectual and moral ends. He has a meek and lowly heart, and he has also a free and illumined mind, and a soul without fear. He knows that no gift or accomplishment is incompatible with true religion; for has not the Church intellects as many-sided and as high as Augustine and Chrysostom, Dante and Calderon, Descartes and Da Vinci, De Vega and Cervantes, Bossuet and Pascal, Saint Bernard and Gregory the Seventh, Aquinas and Michael Angelo, Mozart and Fénelon? Ah! I behold the youthful throng, happier than we, who here, in their own sweet country, —in this city of goverment and of law with its wide streets, its open spaces, its air of freedom and of light, undisturbed by the soul-depressing hum. of commerce and the unintellectual din of machinery, shall hearken to the voice of wisdom and walk in the pleasant ways of knowledge, alive, in every sense, to catch whatever message may come to them from God's universe; who, as they are drawn to what is higher than them-selves, shall be drawn together, like planets to a sun; whose minds, aglow with high thinking, shall taste joy and delight fresher and purer than merriest laughter ever tells. Who has not seen, when leaden clouds fill the sky and throw gloomy shadows on the earth, some little meadow amid the hills, with its trees and flowers, its grazing kine and running brook, all bathed in sunlight, and smiling as though a mother said, Come hither, darling?

Such to my fancy is this favored spot, whose invitation is to the fortunate few who believe that " the noblest mind the best contentment has," and that the fairest land is that which brings forth and nurtures the fairest souls. When youthful friends drift apart, and meet again after years, they find they have been living not only in different cities, but in different worlds. Those who shall come up to the university must turn away from much the world holds dear; and while the companions they leave behind shall linger in pleasant places or shall get money, position, and applause, they must move on amid ever-increasing loneliness of life and thought. Xantippe would have had altogether a better opinion of Socrates had he not been a philosopher, and the best we do is often that for which our age and our friends care the least; but they who have once tasted the delights of a cultivated mind would not ex-change them for the gifts of fortune, and to have beheld the fair face of wisdom is to be for-ever her votary. Words spoken for the masses grow obsolete; but what is fit to be heard by the chosen few shall be true and beautiful while such minds are found on earth. In the end, it is this little band — this intellectual aristocracy — who move and guide the world. They see what is possible, outline projects, and give impulse, while the people do the work. That which is strongest in man is mind; and when a mind truly vigorous, open, supple, and illumined reveals itself, we follow in its path of light. How it may be I do not know; but the very brain and heart of genius throbs forever in the words on which its spirit has breathed.. Let this seed, though hidden like the grain in mummy pits for thousands of years, but fall on proper soil, and soon the golden harvest shall wave beneath the dome of azure skies; let` but some generous youth bend over the electric page, and to ! all his being shall thrill and flame with new-born life and light. Genuis is a gift. But whoever keeps on doing in all earnestness something which he need not do, and for which the world cares hardly at all, if he have not genius, has at least one of its chief marks; and it is, I think, an important function of a university to create an intellectual atmosphere in which the love of excellence shall become contagious, which whosoever breathes shall, like the Sibyl, feel the inspiration of divine thoughts.

Sweet home! where Wisdom, like a mother, shall lead her children in pleasant ways, and to their thoughts a touch of heaven lend! From thee I claim for my faith and my country more blessings than I can speak, —

Our scattered knowledges together bind ;
Our freedom consecrate to noble aims.
To music set the visions of the mind;
Give utterance to the truth pure faith proclaims.
Lead where the perfect beauty lies enshrined,
Whose sight the blood of low-born passion tames.

And now, how shall I more fittingly conclude than with the name of her whose generous heart and enlightened mind were the impulse which has given to what had long been hope deferred and a dreamlike vision, existence and a dwelling-place, — Mary Gwendolen Caldwell.



Home | More Articles | Email: info@oldandsold.com